When the Republican convention finally began on Tuesday, a day late, it did not have the glitz of Democratic stagecraft. But then, the GOP was going for a different image. The subliminal message was that the Republicans will rely on their solid experience and extensive credentials instead of pompous staging and flashy fireworks. It was clear from the outset that the Republicans were focusing on mainstream America. It was also clear that the Republicans first had to pierce through the day’s major distractions — one a natural disaster and the other a media-manufactured frenzy over a teenage pregnancy accompanied, astoundingly, by feminists coming out of forced retirement to carp about whether conservative women can balance family and career.
Hurricane Gustav took mercy on the U.S. and did not wreak the havoc that was expected. The convention’s opening night theme of “service” linked seamlessly to the efforts underway in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. to protect life and minimize property damage. The absence from the convention platform of the five Republican governors of the states affected by the hurricane lent dramatic emphasis to the containment efforts — and nobody could miss the fact that, this time around in contrast to Hurricane Katrina, preparations were top-notch. The net result was a plus for the GOP in terms of the natural disaster’s political impact.
The media-made hurricane related to Bristol Palin’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy was not so easily overcome. The mainstream media has joined the blogs in trying to make a political scandal out of the Palin family’s personal problems. Much of the evening’s proceedings were ignored as the pundits rehashed the details of the teen’s situation — again and again — and tried to make a soap opera out of her mistake. It was clearly over-the-top sensationalism designed to promote the Democratic candidate. Attempts to blame Bristol’s mother marked the lowest day-long moment of media punditry. Surely there is a tipping point when such distortions and character assassination will spill back on the vicious souls who dish it out. But today’s Huffington Post goes at it again, spreading distortions when the facts clearly establish that they are pushing lies.
The media’s frenzy over the Palin nomination contrasts negatively with the positive way that the Palin family is coping with their daughter’s pregnancy; it shows how out-of-touch the media is with the rest of America and how distorted their view is of pro-life Americans who put feet on their policy stances. The most recent annual Pew Religion and Public Life Survey reported that almost 50 percent (49%) of Americans say their “moral values” are conservative, while only 20 percent say they are liberal. When comparing the two presidential candidates, about half of voters described Obama as having liberal moral values, while nearly six in 10 said McCain was conservative. When Pew asked voters to gauge the liberal views of the two candidates, “the average voters place themselves much closer to McCain than to Obama.”
The media frenzy also demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of social conservatives and the importance of the social issues for most Americans. Just take a look at the state legislative agendas across the nation. According to the Initiative & Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California, social issues dominate the 112 ballot propositions in 30 states in November. In California, Arizona and Florida, voters are considering constitutional amendments banning same-sex “marriage.” Colorado (and probably Arizona and Nebraska) will vote on ballot measures to ban affirmative action. Initiatives that would effectively ban abortion will be on ballots in South Dakota and Colorado.
Sarah Palin’s popularity and ability to produce change (Change? Where have I heard that before?) are profoundly disturbing the status quo and has the Democrats, as well as their media cheering squads, running scared. No wonder they are unleashing their furious attacks. Sarah Palin’s nomination has brought the Republican Party millions of dollars and energized its conservative base. She has changed the parameters of the election. Jonah Goldberg, National Review columnist, said, “This is my sixth Republican National Convention, and I’ve never seen anything remotely like the excitement Palin has unleashed. Some compare it to the enthusiasm for Ronald Reagan in 1976 or 1980. Even among the cynics and nervous strategist, there’s a kind of giddiness over John McCain’s tactical daring in selecting the little-known Alaskan.”
Investor’s Business Daily wrote that the choice of Palin for vice president is “brilliant” because the “new strengths she brings to the ticket make the team formidable.” They call the move a “game-changer for Republicans.” They added, “She couldn’t be further from the canned, focus-group-driven politicians who dominate politics. This builds trust. McCain’s and Palin’s similarities present an emerging political coherence and unity of message that should appeal to voters.”
Suddenly the media-induced, so-called economic “recession,” global warming and foreign affairs (except for the war against terrorism) are yesterday’s news, and the old culture war issues have re-emerged. Worse, traditional values are defended by a charming, competent new champion who is a happily married woman successfully balancing a family of five children while governing a state bounded by Russian and Canada — no small feat in these perilous times. Palin’s executive experience includes overseeing 24,000 state employees, managing a $10 billion budget and 14 statewide cabinet agencies. Not bad compared to the Democratic presidential nominee whose local political experience is limited to being a state senator and national experience totals one-term as the junior Senator from Illinois.
On Tuesday night, President George W. Bush kicked off the evening with a speech transmitted live via satellite from the White House. He passed the presidential baton to John McCain “whose life prepared him ... to lead this nation.” The keynote speakers, former Senator Fred Thompson and Democratic-friend-of-the-candidate Senator Joe Lieberman, established John McCain as a “tested” leader who is respected around the world, “not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to American critics abroad, but because of decades of clearly demonstrated character and statesmanship.”
It’s going to be a wild ride of a campaign, but I’m betting on the Alaskan moose hunter, not the media’s bottom-feeders!